Improvements made, despite pandemic, at Rhododendron Gardens
In spite of all the cutbacks in the Portland Parks & Recreation budget this year, and in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden has been undergoing a number of updates lately. The Jane Martin entrance garden was re-landscaped by Michael McQuiggen of "McQuiggen, Inc."; new plants have been replacing those that failed to thrive; and there is a new Butterfly Garden, created by volunteers.
All buildings, benches, concrete pathways, and bridges have been power-washed, and horticulturist Bill Alley has worked on the Garden's sprinkler system. When the two main bridges in the park were power-washed, rot was found on the railings, which still require repair. Meanwhile, a small bridge at the Flowerree Memorial Garden has been examined, and still needs to be replaced.
The Butterfly Garden, which replaces the Ed and Fran Egan Memorial Garden on the "peninsula", has been planted with colorful annuals and perennials, and has become a visitor favorite. It also attracts butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other beneficial insects, and offers lovely vistas of water scenes.
While bird lovers can enjoy a variety of species there, a surge in local wildlife has resulted in increased beaver damage. Several stately old trees and rhododendrons were lost, and vulnerable species were wrapped in heavy-gauge wire to deter the beavers. In places where it's hard to wrap single trees or rhododendron bushes, the complete garden bed has been fenced off. The Garden also requests of visitors that they avoid feeding the ducks, because food debris can also attract vermin.
Since Reed College has been closed to the public due to pandemic concerns, overflow parking on the campus lot on S.E. 28th across from the Rhododendron Garden parking lot is no longer available to garden visitors.
Winter hours at the Garden are currently in effect – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except on Wednesdays, when hours are 1 to 4 p.m. The normal entry fees ($5; although children ages 10 and under are always free) are suspended during the off-season. Call 503/267-7509 for more information.
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